So here we are, almost at the fountain where everything started. “Eyecatch Junction” is the second film directed by Takashi Miike, but was released prior to his first motion picture, “Lady Hunter: Prelude to Murder” (1991), which makes this the first Miike material presented to a broad audience.
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“Eyecatch Junction” is a police comedy about three women who decide to establish a secret crime-fighting unit, because all the interesting cases are done by their male colleagues. By joining the police fitness club, they find a perfect cover for their activities. The investigation of a panty thief at the local women’s dormitory leads them to a serious murder case.
Besides fighting criminals in colorful gymnastic outfits, the main part of the film consists of girls being watched by perverts and some minor efforts of solving the actual crime. “Eyecatch Junction” is playful, silly and contains a lot of comical notes. Like many of Miike’s early works, the plot is based on a manga. This leads to exaggerated acting and a world in which every man is portrayed as a pervert.
The story picks up pace slowly. The first third of the movie is only a concatenation of jokes and work out scenes. After that, the mood changes a bit and at about halfway in, we are introduced to the villain for the first time. Here Miike does not dread to show some heavy fetish sequences, so be prepared, because they may seem to feel out of place among all this quirky comedy. Flaws in the script are obvious, since there is no conviction for the murder case shown at the end. But this only adds up to a non existing common theme and a missing arc of suspense.
There is a noticeable funky synth score that could be straight out of a videogame. It fits well with the atmosphere and also changes the mood with a creepy piano bit when the story turns a bit darker as well. Also, “Eyecatch Junction” is showing some pretty interesting camera shots. By including point-of-view shots and other clever angles, we get a nice diversion from the shallow narration.
Although this first release is often silly and perverse, it tells a story of girls who play by their own rules. Their depiction may be far from emancipated, but at least Miike turns tables by letting the women kick the bad guy’s ass (even if they are wearing silly costumes while doing so). Aside from that, boss fights could be a chapter on its own when it comes to Takashi Miike.
Looking at the filmography of the cast, there are two notable mentions. Hiroko Nakajima, known from a dozen drama series and movies like “The Cherry Orchard” (1990) and “Midori” (1996), plays her role as nerdy tech geek very well and was later seen in Miike’s “Young Thugs: Innocent Blood” (1997). From the male actors, Daisuke Nagakura is a household name in the Miike film universe, having played in “Bodyguard Kiba” (1993) and many more. In “Eyecatch Junction”, he plays Kawamura, a rookie police officer. His acting gives charm to the ladies company and his character isn’t characterized by pervy features, which makes him one of the very few normal men in this movie.
There have been worse debut film releases than this. Miike’s preference for weirdness and extremeness are already discernible but hidden underneath a layer of foolery. “Eyecatch Junction” isn’t for everyone, though. I would recommend it to anime lovers and people with a passion for dark humor.